By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Thursday urged lawmakers to pass the measure that seeks to grant civil service eligibility to Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) councilors.
Ejercito, in filing Senate Bill No. 2185, or the bill that seeks to amend the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Act of 2015 (Republic Act No. 10742), said he believed youth councilors should also be granted civil service eligibility.
The senator noted that under the present law, SK councilors are not included in the list of Elective Barangay Officials to be provided or granted with first level eligibility under the Civil Service Rules.
He said that based on the Civil Service Rules, a Barangay Official Eligibility, which is equivalent to Career Service Sub-professional Eligibility, is a privilege granted to barangay officials, including SK chairpersons.
He said the bill “seeks to grant the same, if not more fitting privilege to SK kagawads, recognizing them also as barangay elected officials.”
“Through the SK Reform Law, the issue on the age and qualification to be members of the SK Council was addressed as it raised the eligible age to run for office from 15 to 18 years old to 18 to 24 years old. It also eliminated the existing patronage politics and enabled the constitutionally mandated anti-dynasty provision,” he said.
The SK Council consists of an SK Chairman and seven (7) SK Kagawad. Under the reform, they are given certain benefits to compensate their efforts as young leaders of the community.
“However, only the SK Chairman enjoys the same benefits given to the barangay officials,” he noted.
Career Service Sub-professional Eligibility is suitable for first level positions in government or job positions, which involve clerical, trades, crafts, and custodial service.
Aside from this, SK Councilors are also not given honorarium during their tenure.
“The grant of civil service eligibility represents their hardwork and commitment in serving their fellow youth in the community,” he said.
The National Youth Commission (NYC) said it supports the passage of the bill into law.
“As always, we view Sen. JV Ejercito as our ‘youth champion’ in the Senate. And we thank him again, particularly for this bill that recognizes the hard work and commitment of our SK officials,” NYC Assistant Secretary Victor A. del Rosario said in a statement.